Friday, August 08, 2008

Demonizing Obama, Part 2

Here's the actual ad at Crooked Timber. After actually seeing it, I have to say, I am now believe that the McCain camp is intentionally pushing the psychotic Obama-as-Antichrist smear.

The most damning evidence comes at the end, when it says something like "He may be The One, but is he ready to lead?" (The ad itself, incidentally, is titled "The One.") But, of course, that doesn't really make any sense on the face of it. First, it's more than a little peculiar to refer to someone as "the one," even to suggest that he might not be said one. But, more importantly, if x is the one, then presumably x is, in fact, ready to lead (as a commenter at CT also points out). To say that someone is the one in the context of an election is to say something like he's the one for the job, i.e., he's the one that ought to be elected.

But, as it turns out, "The One" is fundy code for "the Antichrist." So the peculiar sentence--"he may be The One, but is he ready to lead?"--is actually a (to use the lingo) fundy "dog whistle"--a phrase that is carefully chosen to resonate with fundamentalists, but go undetected by regular folks. The translation is: "Obama may be the Antichrist, but is he ready to lead?" That sentence is far from unproblematic, but that's unimportant in this context. The point of a sentence like that is not to make a rational argument, but to fan the flames of religious lunacy.

One shouldn't make judgments like this lightly, and I certainly remain open to correction on this point...but on the fact of it--or, rather, just below the face--this seems to be the most nefarious ad in American political history.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This ad is so terrible that I even wonder whether the McCain camp actually paid for it. After some quick internet searches, I cannot find any evidence that McCain campaign actually officially paid for this garbage.--I'm an Obama supporter but this ad is such a dramatic display of horribleness that I wonder whether it is just a bad joke or something. If McCain has become this desparate, he's starting to become unglued.

10:43 PM  

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